Yay! Discussion of Interesting Contemporary Korean Slang is finally back! I hope you haven’t forgotten us. You haven’t, have you??? We’ll make it up to you, with more awesome new slang. Like this week’s Korean Word: 안습.

“안습이다” or “안습” is not a new buzz word, but it’s definitely used widely. It’s an abbreviation of “안구에 습기차다,” which means “my eyeballs are watery.” It’s a very strait forward and unusual way to describe a situation when people tear up.

We’re not talking sad movies or emotional moments. You use “안습” mostly for pitiful, embarrassing, and humiliating situations. For example, when people capture screenshots of pretty celebrities making the most unattractive faces, “안습이다” is a perfect way to describe what you’re seeing. Mostly people say “완전 안습이다” or “안습이다,” and to help you practice, here are a few super awkward photos of Korean celebrities.

Here are some more example situations and sentences:
“내가 어제 스위스랑 우리 나라랑 축구하는거 봤는데 완전 우리나라 안습이더라!”
(Yesterday I saw the soccer match against Switzerland, and we were so bad it was embarrassing)
“네 얼굴이 안습이야”
(You are really, depressingly ugly)
“권지용이 모델 옆에 있으니깐 키 차이 때문에 안습이더라”
(GD was standing right next to a model and looked humiliatingly short)

If you are comfortable using 안습, you can level up by using, “캐안습” or “개안습.” Koreans like to use 캐 or개 in front of certain words for emphasis, like saying “freaking awesome!” or “f*cking awesome!” It doesn’t exactly mean freaking or f*cking, I’m just saying it kinda has the same feeling.

English has a lot of colourful adjectives, and “janky” is one of them. It means tacky, uncool, and otherwise awkward turtle-inducing. Janky isn’t all that offensive compared to the wide ocean of English-language insults, but it’s definitely not a compliment. And also, people aren’t janky, but their clothing, actions, or mannerisms are.

For example:
“Don’t park your janky-ass car in my driveway. You can park on the street.”
“That’s so janky! Why do you even own that?”
“I will never go back there. That place is too janky.”

Very rarely, I’ve heard janky also being used to mean smarmy, gross, or otherwise dank. Janky warehouses, janky bars, and janky bathrooms are common enough expressions I thought I should mention them.

This is one of those magic words you can use in EVERY situation. Seriously, I’m not joking. EVERY SITUATION. “헐” could be used when you are amazed in a good or bad way, or if you’re shocked, surprised, upset, or even excited. Just by differentiating the accent and length, “헐” can have tons of different uses. Literally, “헐” doesn’t have a specific meaning, but it is great at conveying your emotions and effective enough to carry on full conversations with few other words.

You’re just going to have to watch the video to get a feel for which 헐s are positive and which 헐s are negative. And while you’re at it, you should subscribe to our videos too. We’re going to keep teaching you how to sound like a pretty young thing in Korean, rather than an old fart who still thinks saying 아싸! is cool. Click this button below to make sure you’re up to date. It’s like insurance for your street cred.

Also, a few of you have been asking about Soo Zee’s hair. It’s still an epic shade of purple, but Soo Zee and Leigh pre-recorded a few videos we haven’t had time to post until now. Think of it as TIME TRAVEL, where you can glimpse Soo Zee’s now long-lost blonde phase. We’ll be caught up to real-time soon enough, and then we’ll finally teach Soo Zee what ratchet means! Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss out on it!

  1. Sounds like the literal equivalent to anseup would be ‘brings tears to my eyes’, but used creatively the way slang often is.

  2. I just started watching Secret Garden (5 episodes in, I know I’m way late to the party) and I’m sure that I’ve heard them say 헐 a few times and I was just like “OMG I saw that in a DICKS episode! I KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!!!!!” so I had to come back and find it and re-watch it. Thanks for being super duper teachers guise! :D

  3. Slang is so interesting – I find my college friends inventing their own slang like “glitterly glove” from “literally love” and shortening/extending certain words (the woooooorst – ew I ha(te) cookies) then when I go back home and see my old friends, they all have different slang I am often left out of and they don’t understand mine.
    Hope you don’t mind if I share my thoughts on the American slang here.
    I have to say, while janky is a real slang term, my circle of the population of America (colleges in Boston and Portland-metro area Oregon) don’t use that as much as just plain “jank”. For example, “that was so jank”. And I don’t think it means tacky as much as ghetto. Like, not something that we would be used to day to day, as privileged college students, and/or civilized folk, and we’re exposed to the lesser humans of the world. I don’t think it’s possible to explain it without sounding like a supremacist douche, but the term is honestly when you find something so inferior you just have to laugh at how jank it is.
    This has of course changed a bit too, so we use it for all awkward/funny situations, like if we perform for a venue and no one laughs at our jokes, or they are super drunk and love us way too much – both situations could be “jank” – just so not normal and weird.
    Love you both! Great job! (American slang is pretty impossible the more I think about how quickly it changes, four years ago it was super cool to say jank all the time, but now-a-days its not used much, only if we can’t think of a better word to describe whatever happened – I wonder if Korea has the same regional divides of slang like do young people in Busan 헐 as much as those in Seoul?)

  4. If it is just ㅋㅋㅋ, then I think it means hahaha or lol

  5. Man SooZee saying 헐 sounds a bit like when I am trolling and saying LOL really loud.

  6. I haven’t heard janky too often (NYC’er over here) but always known it to be more “broken” or “wack”. As for rachet, here is a definitive guide to the evolution of the term http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/04/ratchet-the-rap-insult-that-became-a-compliment.html

  7. it means i don’t have/to not have… so if you say “shigani opseo” it means i don’t have time (i hear this a lot in dramas lol) or “chinguka opseo” it means i don’t have friends

  8. Coming from a homegrown American: Actually I’ve mostly heard janky to mean “messed up”. Like: “That test was so janky dude,” so like the test was hard/unfair/messed up. :D

  9. WHEN you guys come to America, you should collect regional slang to stump Soozee (and maybe Leigh, too!)!

    so many of these words are diffferent based on the region of the country we’re talking about. I’d love to have Soozee guess what jawn and jawnpiece are, from Philadelphia, but no one else would get it or care, i am guessing. i think, too, how old you are and what crowd you belong to; sick isn’t sick and wicked isn’t wicked, and all that.

  10. I have a question:

    While learning korean, what were the word usages which confused you ( and why )?

    ( This can be addressed to Simon, Martina and Leigh )

    For example, when I was first introduced to the language and culture, I was confused by the usage of “오빠 – oppa ”
    ( lame example but, I couldn’t help it ).

  11. It’s not just you xD I haven’t ever heard ‘Janky’ either, maybe cos i’m also Aussie :3 Or is it something the world has hidden from Australia o.o

  12. I guess that the meaning of janky also varies depending on the area of where you’re from. People use it pretty often around where I’m from in the US, but never in the context of uncool or tacky. It’s more like just plain broken or old.

  13. I’m learning more American slang here… and I’m american lol…is it because I’m from NY? lol I’ve honestly never heard of any of the terms that Leigh has used in all of these videos except for like sausagefest… yay for learning! lol

  14. Please explain ‘niga’ and ‘naega’ to us. I know what they mean now, but when I first got into K-Pop, I was rather shocked. I didn’t realize what they were saying until I started to want to sing along. Most notably, when I was trying to sing “I Am The Best” By 2NE1.

    When I realized what it sounded like I was saying, I got worried. I knew little to none of Korean, so I was actually on the verge of not listening to it anymore.

    But by the time I got to that point, I was in so deep I really didn’t want to leave. So, I looked it up. Best. Decision. EVARRR! Thanks to an article, and PSY (related to the article post) I stayed in K-Pop. I just really think it should be covered, just in case others were thinking the same thing.

  15. 안습 reminds me of catsup. Ketchup or Catsup?
    I’ve never heard of janky before. Mind you most of my slang now is internet acronyms. Yes I am one of those people who says acronyms out loud. Lol.

  16. I feel like people from New Jersey (or at least where I live) don’t really use any slang ^^”

  17. I’ve never heard of janky until this video. Are they using really out there/regioinalized slang because Soo Zee knows too much normal slang?

  18. American slang varies a lot depending on where in the United States you are. Leigh’s probably using slang that’s common in Texas, but might be less common elsewhere.

  19. I agree! I’ve always thought of Janky as more like “busted up” or “ratty” rather than tacky (which jives perfectly with the example sentence “Don’t park your janky-ass car in my driveway. You can park on the street”)

  20. After you teach her ratchet, please teach her what “twerking” is (if she doesn’t know yet).

  21. Actually I found this episode a little depressing because I realized they are now translating slang that I don’t know because I’M TOO OLD. They’re going to end up with a subset of English speaking viewers who are wondering, “Yes, what does ‘ratchet’ mean?” (for real, I see the kids today using it a lot, but what does it mean?) OLD! I’M OLD! Excuse me why I go finish my chamomile tea and my crossword puzzle.

  22. Oh I didn’t know 헐 can be used positively…I’ve only heard it used when you dont want to do something…like when I give my students a worksheet that they dont want to do, they’re like “헐!” Or like when something unfortunate happens like…idk, you drop your food on the ground, you can say “헐!” haha.
    Interesting, I haven’t heard it in a positive context yet!

  23. i actually use 헐…..ahahahaha!! but usually in my brain….where i sometimes think to myself in Korean!

  24. Hi! I have a question about numbers :D I was at first dumbfounded at Henry’s song 1-4-3, since I’m not a native English nor Korean speaker. I googled it and found out that it’s for I Love You (1, 4 and 3 letters) and 4-8-6 means 사랑해. I saw in the drama Reply 1997 that these number series were somewhat popular during the time? So I want to know a) is this a Korean thing and b) is there other number series you guise know :)

    • i think it was more popular back in the 90s, early 2000s when people sent messages via pagers. i = 1 letter, love = 4 letters, you = 3 letters… so it’s a not-so-secret code way to say i love you. someone correct me if i’m wrong, but this is what i was told!

  25. “Don’t park your janky-ass car in my driveway. You can park on the street.”


  26. Also, I use janky a lot. And jank. Yeah XD

    Soo Zee: 헐!!!!
    HAhahaha had me on the floor XD

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